Depending on which part of it's story you choose to focus on, The New Trust is either extremely straightforward or tantalizingly complex. In one corner, the co-ed band from Santa Rosa-located about 55 miles north of San Francisco-plays unpretentious, fired-up indie-rock songs that bring to mind the mid-'90s heyday (think Boilermaker, Knapsack, early Promise Ring, etc.), are catchy as all get-out, and rarely reach the three-minute mark. Getting vulnerable-what does it mean? Vulnerable to the forces of nature, the temptations of sex, the urge to lie and cheat and steal? Vulnerable. The very word elicits the soft side. The anti-rock aesthetic. The inner sliver of humankind that sighs, quietly from the hilltop: I am not the greatest. And yet here it is, the New Trust's third record, Get Vulnerable, in all of it's hard, heavy, and bombastic glory. Opening like the crash of a ship's plank on the sand and closing a mere 28 minutes later with a united declaration of deceit, this album is the flared beast of past portents. The band's previous missive (2006's Dark is the Path Which Lies Before Us) promised pitch-black horizons; now, those horizons have arrived, and they are lurksome indeed. Josh Staples, the New Trust's main songwriter, has become overtaken with wolves, chilling winds, icy pipes and treacherous ruses. Every song is in a minor key, and more than any previous album, he sounds as if he is crying for help from the bottom of a well. His singing is qualitatively f***ing possessed. This is a good thing. With guitar duties in the entrancing handle of Sara Sanger-the Mr. Hyde to Staples' Dr. Jekyll if ever there was one-and with drums and piano, played simultaneously, covering more stylistic ground than ever through Julia Lancer, the New Trust are now not only one of the truly independent indie-rock bands; they're also one of it's most psychologically and harrowingly satisfying. Every vein cut open and on display. The voyeur in all of us having a field day. Vulnerable, I guess you'd say.
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